The Roach-Motel of Federal Prosecution
U.S. to Make Third Attempt To Prosecute Miami Group
By Julienne Gage Special to The Washington Post Thursday, April 24, 2008; A02
MIAMI, April 23 -- Federal prosecutors announced Wednesday that they will try for the third time to convict six men accused of plotting to blow up Chicago's Sears Tower and attack other buildings.
"The United States has decided it's necessary to proceed, your honor, one more time to a jury," prosecuting attorney Richard Gregorie told U.S. District Judge Joan A. Lenard at a hearing.
In arguing for a new trial, Gregorie pointed to taped conversations obtained by the FBI in which the leader of the "Liberty City Seven," Narseal Batiste, made threatening comments about citizens of the United States.
"In referring to Americans, Mr. Batiste said he wanted to kill all the devils," Gregorie told the judge.
The defendants, of whom six remain under threat of prosecution, were arrested June 23, 2006, at a warehouse in Miami's low-income Liberty City neighborhood, where FBI informants posing as al-Qaeda operatives persuaded the men to pledge an allegiance to the terrorist organization and offered them $50,000 to take part in a terror plot. Among the activities some the men engaged in were taking pictures of federal buildings around Miami. During both of the previous trials, Batiste testified that he and his followers agreed to the informants' proposal only because they thought they could con them out of the money. (bold type added)
For those unfamiliar with the ads, Roach-Motels were pitched as baits, where cockroaches 'checked in, but didn't check out.' Rather like prosecuting attorney Richard Gregorie's embarrassing decision--certainly an order from above--to continue the harassment of six ignorant, homeless Floridians.
The FBI, apparently unable to find anyone of interest in the hotbed of Miami disaffection toward America, baited these seven guys into chargeable offense. Entrapped them, by convincing them there was $50,000 available if they would play-act their way through secretly videotaped and edited conversation.
One of the seven has been found not guilty of all charges. Two juries have already deadlocked in mistrials on the remaining six, the evidence was so specious. Gregorie, with the tenacious grip of a bull-terrier, has these guys by the pant-leg and will thus be dragged down the dusty street of injustice rather than concede defeat.
Defeat is too honorable a word. He will not concede entrapment.
Someday, someone (or group of someones) will do damage to an American city. But it will not be these sad victims, nor is it likely to be any of the hundreds we essentially kidnap into unending custody without charge or the ability to defend--or even represent themselves as required under habeas corpus.
Then the wild-eyed will present themselves at the head of the Bush-Cheney pack, baying at the moon of "I told you so." The ultimate disaster is not preventable by such means. The prediction of a man's death, every single day of his life, will eventually be found true--yet the means does not provide even the slightest evidence for planning a funeral.
One can hardly blame law enforcement for its vigilance. What can be blamed--and must be blamed--is the wrong-headed, obstinate, stupid and institutionalized ferocity with which this administration pursues suspects.
American law is willing to be found wrong. Found wrong is the very basis of jurisprudence in this country. Justice is shown blindfolded for a reason that is uniquely American. Prior to our national paralysis, we did not hustle suspects off to never-ending lock-up without charge. In the times before our mob-mentality, we stood firmly on the side of justice rather than retribution.
Even Al Capone was allowed the mercy of bail and speedy trial.